Welcome to PriusChat

We'd love to have you join our community and participate in the conversation! Sign up for FREE today.

Sign Up

Strange smell from heating

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Arthur Daily, Jan 17, 2009.

Social Buttons

  1. Arthur Daily

    Arthur Daily New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London UK
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2007 Prius
    Hi all, I found this site extremely helpful in making my decision to get myself a prius. Now 5 weeks later i'm still a happy prius owner. I've done a little forum search on this and only found posts regarding 'smells' when using A/C, but my problem is i get a smell when Ive cranked the heat up. not had a chance to use the A/C for cooling yet as its DAM COLD here in London right now. My problem is this, I've used the heating set at around 20 for about 2 weeks then the other day i needed some heat FAST so cranked it up to MAX. then a few moments later i noticed a strange smell in the cab. i wouldn't say its a burning rubber smell or even a electrical burning smell. its doesn't smell like one of those sort of toxic smells. more like one of those old bar heater smells, but not so much of a dusty smell. if i set the system to use outside air, it helps. but doesn't completely go away. I'm going to play with the setting a little more over the next few days and try to pin point exactly whats what. but from my story above dose anyone have any ideas ?
  2. BerkshirePrius

    BerkshirePrius New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Berkshire, NY
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Possibly a rodent smell? My understanding is that mice can infiltrate the HVAC system of the Prius. Try pulling the cabin air filter and investigate, maybe do a smell test. The element is washable.
  3. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    13,365
    Likes Received:
    3,193
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Hi Arthur,

    The Prius cabin air heating system includes two electric heaters, along with the traditional heater core that has engine coolant flowing through. Maybe the smell that you notice is coming from the electric heaters.
  4. skguh

    skguh Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2008 Prius
    I had the same occurrance--twice.

    Additionally, I usually leave everything on automatic--just bump the temp up or down depending on circumstances. I tried this morning and it (air handling system) started trying desperately to heat at the foot level but my windows increasingly fogged up. It's as though the air conditioning gets confused--and yes, I realize that's silly. But I've been driving the same way for months. After the above I pushed the temp to HI and it wasn't any more than a minute before it smelled like my dash was going to burst into flames. This is the second time the smell has occurred, both times seemingly associated with the 'HI' setting. This isn't a hot ceramic smell, but a very very hot electrical smell.
    I'm taking it to the garage for 35K checkup tomorrow. Will advise.
  5. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Messages:
    18,046
    Likes Received:
    2,953
    Location:
    Northern Michigan
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    The electrical heaters are not normally used, but when you cranked up the heat they came on. Electrical resistance heaters make a funny smell when new, or when used infrequently. Think of it as burning off the crud in the bottom of your oven, but in a more limited manner.

    Tom
  6. donee

    donee New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    2,959
    Likes Received:
    188
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    Hi All,

    If you have snow on the intake vents (between the windshield and the hood) and the automatic system goes to 100 percent heating, with a cold engine, one can get the electric smell. I clear off the vents carefully, and hammer down with the brush bristles, any icy deposits in the metal grid under the grill. This appears to help the air flow, window fogging, and gets rid of the electric smell...
  7. skguh

    skguh Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2008 Prius
    I've only used my heat "HI" setting twice, and both times this odor came. It was so acrid I looked for smoke--I honestly believed my system was frying. Eventually the smell subsided, but not before I rolled the temp back down and set it on 'Auto' air handling. Serious reflection moments, those...
Similar Threads: Strange smell
Forum Title Date
Prius v Main Forum Strange smell coming from Prius v plastics? Jun 10, 2014
Gen III 2010+ Prius Main Forum Strange Smell from vents Jun 12, 2013
Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting Strange sound coming from engine Yesterday at 7:44 PM
Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles Strange change in outside temperature reading Sep 13, 2014
Toyota Prius Plug-in Strange change in outside temperature reading Sep 13, 2014